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Keywords:

  • normal men;
  • reproductive hormones;
  • semen quality;
  • Spain;
  • sperm concentration

Summary

In North European countries, a significant difference in semen quality among young men has been shown. Men from the western countries, Denmark, Germany and Norway, have lower semen quality than men from the eastern countries Finland, Estonia and Lithuania. Similarly, men in the western countries have a higher risk of testicular cancer. According to the testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS) concept that suggests a link between risk of impaired semen quality and increased risk of testicular cancer, Spanish men would be expected to have a semen quality at a normal level because of their very low testis cancer risk. We therefore investigated 273 men from the Almeria region in the Southern Spain to test this hypothesis. The men delivered semen samples, underwent physical examinations, had a blood sample drawn and provided information on lifestyle and reproductive health parameters. The investigations took place from November 2001 to December 2002. Adjusting for effects of confounders, the median sperm concentration and total sperm count were 62 (95% confidence interval 47–82) million/mL and 206 (153–278) million, respectively. The median numbers of motile and morphologically normal spermatozoa assessed according to strict criteria were 59% (57–62%) and 9.4% (8.6–10.0%), respectively. The median total testosterone and calculated free androgen index were 28 nm (26–30) and 95 (88–103), respectively. Assuming that the investigated men, to a large extent, are representative of the population of young men the Southern Spain, the results show that these have normal semen quality and reproductive hormone levels as expected in a population with a low incidence of testicular cancer.